June 2012 Archives

Anchovies with skordalia

Anchovies with skordalia
For the skordalia (serves 4):
  • ½ kg (1 lb) floury potatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped;
  • 1-2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • good Greek olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

For the anchovies:
  • Frozen anchovies, about 3-4" in length (about 12-18 per person, depending on size)
    DO NOT use the salted anchovies in oil that are sold in glasses or tins!
  • some flour
  • oil suitable for deep frying (rapeseed or similar)
  • lemon juice

A few hours before cooking, defrost the frozen anchovies.

Boil the potatoes for about 20 minutes, then skin them, season to taste with salt and pepper, add the finely chopped garlic cloves and mash well.

Stir in the vinegar and olive oil with a wooden spoon. Keep adding olive oil until the skordalia has become smooth and creamy, but not greasy. Put in fridge and let cool down for a few hours. The taste will change and intensify.

If you bought whole anchovies, remove the heads and gut them. To do do, pull back and tear off the head, then insert your index finger where the head used to be and move it quickly towards the tail, thus ripping out guts (you may want to wear vinyl or latex gloves to do this). Rinse well.

You can also buy kitchen-ready anchovies that are already headless and gutted. These can be used as they are once they have been defrosted.

Dry the anchovies with a paper towel and roll them once in flour, so that they are very thinly coated. No additional seasoning is required, not even salt.

Heat the oil well and deep fry the anchovies at high temperature. You don't need a deep fryer or even a large frying pan, you can do it in a small pot, 6-8 anchovies at a time. Just make sure they are well submerged in the oil.

Once the anchovies have a hint of a golden colour, remove them from the oil. 1-2 minutes will do. If you fry them too long, they will become too dry.

Put anchovies on a kitchen towel so that the extra fat is absorbed. Then arrange on a plate together with a serving of the skordalia. Season the anchovies with lemon juice. You can serve this with salad and a dry white wine.